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Defunct Spy Satellite Falling From Orbit

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posted on Feb, 9 2008 @ 07:38 PM
162.79 over Puerto Rico @ 8:36pm EST

Slowly slowly decending

posted on Feb, 10 2008 @ 03:04 PM
162.40 over Mauritania @ 4:02 pm EST

posted on Feb, 10 2008 @ 06:28 PM

Originally posted by VIKINGANT
reply to post by anniem

Check out the link to heavens above I posted above. It sows real time location on a world map as well as height as well as other tid bits.

[edit on 9/2/2008 by VIKINGANT]

Thanks, if you are from the land of Oz, or the great downunder, you will find some comfort in the knowledge that the thing will be over my head on FEB 19 or very close depending on how the wind blows.
I am new here so this link may not work.

If it does not, go to your Heaves Above page and put in this: 40.4410°N, 79.9960°W.
I had wanted to go out and buy a good scope, may not need one. Could get a close up view.
Anything falls in my back yard you all can have the first bids on it

posted on Feb, 10 2008 @ 08:35 PM
reply to post by anniem

Thats Cool!! I dont even get to see the Ground track plot on mine. I guess it doesnt come near enough to my part of Oz. Bugga. Just had a look and in it passing south of Aust and NZ right now.

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 01:46 PM

Originally posted by VIKINGANT
reply to post by anniem

Thats Cool!! I dont even get to see the Ground track plot on mine. I guess it doesnt come near enough to my part of Oz. Bugga. Just had a look and in it passing south of Aust and NZ right now.

I am not sure how cool this will be if it falls on us. RTG units are designed for heat - alleged decaying nuclear waste. Found an old article and wonder if you may have more current information.
"Design features include:

· Fuel pellets made of hard, ceramic plutonium-238 oxide that do not dissolve in water. The pellets are also highly resistant to vaporizing or fracturing into breakable particles following impact on hard surfaces. Each of the GPHS's 18 modules contains four fuel pellets, for a total of 72 pellets per GPHS RTG.

· Iridium, a very stable metal with elastic properties that encapsulates each fuel pellet. These capsules (about the size and shape of a marshmallow) would tend to stretch or flatten instead of ripping open if the GPHS module struck the ground at high speed. This would help keep the capsules intact and contain the fuel.

· A high-strength graphite cylinder called a graphite impact shell that holds a pair of fuel pellets. The graphite impact shell is designed to limit damage to the iridium fuel capsules from free-fall or explosion fragments.

· An "aeroshell," which encloses a pair of graphite impact shells. It serves as a shield designed to with stand the heat of re-entering Earth's atmosphere in case of an accident."

Testing the Possibilities

The nuclear fuel in the GPHS faces a variety of possible accidents during a space mission. Launch and re-entry pose many types of risks to the spacecraft and its components.

As a result, rigorous testing is conducted to ensure the RTG's nuclear fuel will survive a launch accident or other mishap, remain intact, and contain the fuel. The battery of tests that the GPHS's fuel modules have undergone included the effects of:

Fire - Direct exposure to solid propellant fires, such as the GPHS might encounter in a launch accident, produced minimal damage and no nuclear fuel release.

Blast - The modules survived the high temperatures of simulated atmospheric orbital decay entry, as tested in an arc-jet furnace, no fuel was released.

Earth Impact - Impact at 120 miles per hour (approximate top speed for an aeroshell falling to Earth) on sand, water, or soil produced no release of heat source module fuel. Impact on rock and concrete sometimes produced releases, but much of the fuel was retained by the surrounding graphite module, leaving only small amounts of low-level radioactive material to enter the localized environment.

Immersion in Water - Long-term exposure to the corrosive effects of seawater showed the iridium capsule is corrosion-resistant and the fuel itself is highly insoluble.

Shrapnel - Researchers used aluminum and titanium bullets to simulate the small fragments that might be present in a launch vehicle explosion. Speeds of test fragments exceeded those predicted for an actual explosion. results indicated that shrapnel would not cause a release of nuclear fuel.

Large Fragments - In tests representing solid rocket booster failures, steel plates were fired at simulated RTGs. Some unlikely events, such as impact with the edges of steel plates, caused some release in a few fuel capsules. More likely events, such as impacts with the faces of steel plates, did not produce a release

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 05:51 PM

Originally posted by anniem

Originally posted by VIKINGANT
reply to post by anniem

I am not sure how cool this will be if it falls on us.

What I meant was the detail on the ground tracking. But WOW! I knew this thing a potentially nasty but having all this info in your face like that makes it so much more scary.....

Good work on the data


posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 05:59 PM
161.85 just east of Puerto Rico @ 6:57pm EST

seems to be dropping a tad bit faster

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 06:18 PM
They say it will start dropping faster now. I think I saw smewhere (possibly in this thread) that once it reaches 100K that is it and it plummets down. Is this correct? Cant be long to go now in that case.

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 06:25 PM
mine are listed in miles

its still about 260 km

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 07:12 PM
Thats better. Still coming down fast any which way.
Not wanting to make light of a potentially bad situation, but has anyone started a sweep on When/Where etc.. it will come down?
FYI Just heading toward Mexico now

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 08:44 PM

Originally posted by V Kaminski
reply to post by snoopyuk

I did thanks, Patrick Moore is legendary. So I went looking... for a bit more data in relation to satellite observations and stuff. US Naval Observatory isn't listing it. I tried to find the US Spacom sat and orbital debris map... it used to be available but I couldn't find it. Speed is varying in between 16,700 and 16,800MPH.

Hey, if one opens the link to "5 Day predictions" it will show you when you can see it... they know where we are. LOL. This site is not hiding anything or doing anything sinister that I can tell.

Iran's got their "satellite" up. It sat on the pad an extra seven seconds but then flew... it made space and it's up there now. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 ... that'll ruffle a few Eagle feathers. STS-122 is up soon...

Lotta co-inky-dinks and happen-stances of unusual natures these days. Interesting times around this planet.


[edit on 4-2-2008 by V Kaminski]

Thanks for the great link-nyo. You can watch it come in on google.
Before anyone hits that link, make sure you and your machine have nothing to hide, they do know your location also. Site had a picture of a little house at my location and the satellite just passed to the west in Ohio about 3 min ago.

[edit on 092929p://0917 by anniem]

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 08:53 PM
reply to post by anniem

And it's finders-keepers right?

Will be watching with interest.

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 09:00 PM

Originally posted by anniem

Originally posted by V Kaminski
reply to post by snoopyuk

Before anyone hits that link, make sure you and your machine have nothing to hide, they do know your location also.

This is a great link to see where it is. Thanks guys. FYI, however, dont get too paranoid about getting tracked. Unless they are hiding just how much they do know to catch us off guard. I am in Queensland but they show me as being in southern New South Wales.

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 09:04 PM
I reckon it's going to land somewhere near Ireland at this stage!

Surely someone can accurately predict where it is
likely to crash down no?

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 09:35 PM
"I'm not aware that we have a security issue," he said. "It's really just a big thing falling on the ground that we want to make sure we're prepared for."

The story kept changing L21 to USA193, lauch from Delta that could not handle the 20,000 load. Boeing built it no Lockheed. They do feel that it or them, will land in N. America. Definite Maybe. If you notice, very little info after the end of Jan.
The name Ted Molczan is listed in that article this is a Feb 7 report
"It is not known where on Earth the satellite will hit. But officials familiar with the situation say about half of the 5,000-pound spacecraft is expected to survive its blazing descent through the atmosphere and will scatter debris - some of it potentially hazardous - over several hundred miles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter."

What is really interesting is this from Newsgroups: sci.astro.satellites.visual-observe,sci.astro.amateur
Subject: Re: Seeking Southern Hemisphere observers to track spy satellites
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2003 22:44:02 -0800


The truth can now be told. Ted Molczan was a former Soviet Mole, originally
operating out of Cechoslavakia and targeting America (Look at the last name
Mol(e)-cz-an). Coded messages were passed back to his masters through
foreign language websites such as:

However the CIA has been tracking Ted for some time. In fact one of the
military satellites Ted was tracking was actually an early test bed for Star
Wars technology. Using top secret methods, the CIA was able to determine
when Ted was watching the satellite with his telescope. In the middle of
Ted's observations, the satellite fired a high intensity laser burst at
Ted's telescope. The scope focused the laser burst and blew out the back of
Ted's head, killing him instantly. However, the explosion also removed his
facial features, which meant the body was not identified by police who were
summoned to the scene. The body was then kidnapped from the morgue and a CIA
agent is now posing as Ted in order to feed misinformation back to Ted's
handlers. Any posts which claim to be from Ted are fakes, intended to entrap
others who may have been working in Ted's spy ring.



"Ted Molczan" wrote in message
> I am seeking observers well south of latitude 25 S able and willing to
> assist in tracking spy satellites.
> I am one of a small number of hobbyists who specialize in finding and
> tracking U.S. satellites for which official orbital elements are not
> published. Hobbyists track about 100 such "spy satellites."
> Most of the active observers are located in the Northern Hemisphere,
> which makes it impossible to track certain objects, and which results
> in lengthy coverage gaps for other objects.
> The purpose of this message is to seek obververs to assist in tracking
> the three KeyHole electro-optical imaging satellites. Those satellites
> are visible only during the summer seasons of both the Northern and
> Southern hemisphere. Observers closest to their respective poles have
> the best views.
> Observers near latitude 25 S will be able to observe those objects for
> a few weeks each year, but the periods of visibility grow
> significantly as one moves closer to the pole.
> Currently, two observers (in Australia and South Africa), located near
> 35 S, are providing coverage, but their visibility windows will end
> later this month.
> It would be helpful to have a few more observers between 25 S and 35
> S, but we especially need observers south of 35 S, preferrably well
> south of 40 S, in order to extend our coverage beyond January.
> Observations are made by precisely timing the passage of a satellite
> between pairs of closely spaced stars having known co-ordinates, and
> noting the fraction of the distance of the point of passage between
> the stars.
> At minimum, observers need a pair of 7x50 binoculars, a stop watch,
> and access to a time signal against which the stop watch is to be
> calibrated. They must also accurately determine their latitude,
> longitude and height above sea level, using either a topograhic map or
> GPS receiver.
> It is also helpful to have a star atlas on which to plot the
> satellite's track. Free programs exist which can produce such plots on
> a printer.
> Since this is a hobby, there is no obligation to track at any
> particular time. Those of us who track, do so when we have the time
> and the inclination. For the KeyHole satellites, observations about
> once every 7 to 10 days would be helpful

[edit on 092929p://5317 by anniem]

[edit on 092929p://5917 by anniem]

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 10:17 PM
Never heard of him, but he posts a lot

at SeeSat-L

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 10:19 PM

Originally posted by makeitso
Never heard of him, but he posts a lot

at SeeSat-L

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 10:22 PM

Originally posted by anniem

Originally posted by makeitso
Never heard of him, but he posts a lot

at SeeSat-L

Yes and this is his post March 19 2008
RTGs are designed to use plutonium as heat it decays into another state that is said not to be able to penetrate paper. This is what USA193 did not do.

Because the satellite never became operational, it has toxic rocket fuel on board that would have been used to maneuver the satellite in space. It could pose a danger if the fuel tank does not explode upon re-entry.

It also poses a danger if it does explode.

[edit on 102929p://4517 by anniem]

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 10:34 PM
reply to post by anniem

He said for the March 19th date that it could be off more than a week. Say it falls April 1st or 2nd, would R. Wienland be correct that it would open the 7th seal with the "nuke attack" on USA? Seeing how there is no news coverage of it, and the late feb/early march time could be disinfo?

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 10:51 PM

Originally posted by VIKINGANT
reply to post by anniem

Check out the link to heavens above I posted above. It sows real time location on a world map as well as height as well as other tid bits.

[edit on 9/2/2008 by VIKINGANT]

Having fun watching it in real time. Aviation week said it should fall here;
The debris could impact anywhere between 58.5 deg. N. and S. Lat. in late February or early March. Troubles
Link will not work unless you copy and paste the whole thing

Passes over me about every 2 hours


CORRECTION POSTED FEB. 6, 2008: The article below misidentifies the manufacturer of a failing National Reconnaissance Office satellite. The classified spacecraft, which is expected to reenter the atmosphere by March, was not built by Boeing. We regret the error and any resulting implications.

The Boeing-National Reconnaissance Office imaging radar spacecraft that failed shortly after launch creating a falling debris risk indicates that trouble within the NRO Future Imagery Architecture (FIA) program has spread to the radar side of the highly secret project.

The debris could impact anywhere between 58.5 deg. N. and S. Lat. in late February or early March.

Some analysts believe the debris could reveal national security secrets if not recovered by members of the NRO/Pentagon teams being formed to travel to the impact area should it land on North America or other friendly territory.

Others more familiar with the actual hardware do not believe, however, that the debris will poses a security risk. Air Force Gen. Victor E. (Gene) Renuart, Jr., who heads U.S. Northern Command, told the Associated Press that there does not yet appear to be much concern about sensitive technologies on the satellite falling into enemy hands. “I’m not aware that we have a security issue,” he says. “It’s really just a big thing falling that we want to make sure we’re prepared for.”

Reentry debris analysis from the space shuttle Columbia accident is being applied to Pentagon assessments on how much of the failed NROL-21 imaging radar will survive reentry and strike Earth.

The Defense Dept. and especially the U.S. Northern Command have been forming debris recovery teams and making other preparations for months, ever since the spacecraft failed minutes after launch from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Dec. 14, 2006, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II.

This week marks the fifth anniversary of intensive Columbia debris recovery, mostly in Texas, following the Feb. 1, 2003, reentry accident that resulted in the loss of the orbiter and its seven-member U.S.-Israeli crew. The resulting debris has been made available to researchers over the last several years for analysis into the types and amounts of spacecraft materials that can survive reentry and strike the ground. That data is now being used operationally for the first time by the Pentagon, NASA and NRO analysts to better calculate how much debris will plunge through the atmosphere.

From a U.S. reconnaissance standpoint, the FIA optical recon program was rife with problems long before the FIA radar development satellite failed.

As the NRO, Pentagon and Boeing continue to bungle what, under FIA, were supposed to have been faster, cheaper, better optical and radar-imaging spacecraft, countries such as China are moving ahead with large military programs that are increasingly difficult to monitor with dwindling U.S. reconnaissance assets.

FIA program foul-ups had already cost Boeing and the NRO several billion dollars on the optical side. The optical spacecraft design was so flawed that NRO removed Boeing and assigned the project to Lockheed Martin (AW&ST Sept. 26, 2005, p. 30). That contractor had been making highly successful, but expensive, Advanced KH-11-class spacecraft for 25 years when Boeing won the FIA contract for both radar and optical satellites. Analysts now believe that Lockheed Martin is working on two Advanced KH-11 gap filler spacecraft for about $15 billion to replace the delayed FIA systems.

Smaller companies like Colorado-based DigitalGlobe and GeoEye of Virginia are also likely to be involved in a different competition to develop more classified versions of smaller optical spacecraft like WorldView-1 that was also recently launched by a Delta II at Vandenberg. The DigitalGlobe WorldView-1 civil/military spacecraft is providing extraordinary 18-in. image resolution from about 300-mi. altitude (see photo below, right). The first competing GeoEye spacecraft is set for launch from Vandenberg in August—in what will be one of the military space programs most important launches of 2008. Both the DigitalGlobe WorldView program and GeoEye effort are part of the $1-billion NextView program managed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a key intelligence community organization.

There is also a program code-named “Basic” that might or might not be related to the Lockheed reconstitution of Advanced KH-11 type assets.

If the NROL-21 mission failure has caused management shakeups, NRO and Boeing have kept them secret.

Fortunately, the much different NRO eavesdropping signals intelligence satellite fleet seems to be faring better with new designs. It too is facing a major test this month at Vandenberg.

The new NROL-28 mission, a large eavesdropping sigint spacecraft, is set to launch Feb. 26 into a highly elliptical orbit on board the first Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle to be flown from Vandenberg. Such sigint spacecraft have proved important in tracking Al Qaeda and in searching for Osama Bin Laden.

The launcher for NROL-28 will be an Atlas V-411 version, with a large 4-meter fairing, one strap-on booster and a single-engine Centaur upper stage, This is also an important Vandenberg mission because it will also carry, as a piggyback payload, just the second Sbirs Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) sensor. The NROL-28 Sbirs missile-warning sensor will be tested with another that has been aloft for about 18 months also on board an NRO sigint host spacecraft. The NROL-28 mission is also unusual because it will carry two small NASA subsatellites.

The U.S. for nearly 20 years has operated mammoth Lacrosse space-based radars—the last of which are aging in orbit.

Placing the development of new radar imaging satellites under the FIA program was done with the hope that smaller, less-expensive radar imagers may result.

Doing the same with optical spacecraft failed, and with the NROL-21 mission loss, the radar program now must also recover, although it is being left under Boeing control.

Reconnaissance to follow Al Qaeda activity in mountainous terrain is one important mission—especially for radar spacecraft. The radars can differentiate camouflaged trucks or pack animals in mountainous terrain or under trees. They can also see just fine at night and through clouds.

The identification of NROL-21 as a radar mission has only recently come about by analysts at organizations like Global Security.Org. Independent analysts like Canadian Ted Molczan have also noted the spacecraft was launched into a “frozen orbit”—an orbit with characteristics like that used by most all previous radar satellites be they military or civilian.

The Air Force has assigned the highest possible radar monitoring of the falling satellite. And, closer to the reentry date, the Defense Support Program (DSP) infrared missile warning satellites along with the new Sbirs high Earth-orbit sensor will begin to look for an increased infrared signature from the satellite as friction with the upper layers of the atmosphere begins to heat it up. Pentagon ground facilities with infrared capability like one sited on a Maui, Hawaii, mountaintop will also begin to image the spacecraft. It has probably done so several times already.

While this is underway the U.S. is contacting other governments worldwide about the impending reentry. U.N. treaty provisions also cover such events.

China and Russia present two of the largest areas for a potential impact. It is unlikely, however, that debris recovery teams would be allowed to operate in those countries. Were an impact to occur, China will probably issue protests about the U.S. “militarizing space.”

The spacecraft will break into little pieces. Most of the satellite will burn up, but some extremely lightweight pieces or extremely dense materials will survive the reentry and fall within an ellipse that cannot yet be determined this far ahead of impact.

Several tens of pounds of spacecraft debris could reach the ground. The orbit overflies all of the world’s most populated areas. But the debris statistically is far more likely to land in an ocean, since water underlies more than 90% of the ground track.

Details emerging from the program indicate that the satellite is relatively small.

Contrary to media reports that say the spacecraft is as large as a school bus weighing up to 20,000 lb., the failed satellite is actually one of the smallest launched in the last several years by the NRO.

The spacecraft’s main body is no more than about 15 ft. long X 8 ft. wide, and likely even smaller than that. Had its large radar dish been unfolded in orbit the vehicle would have been the size of a basketball court. But anything deployed would have been extremely lightweight compared with the central core, which houses the propellant tanks, momentum wheels, gyros and avionics boxes. The top-secret radar antenna is extremely fragile, and is the most likely component to burn up entirely by reentry heating.

The spacecraft’s size is actually the most easily calculated parameter of the secret satellite, since it was launched on board a United Launch Alliance Delta II booster. Delta IIs have small payload shrouds measuring only about 16 X 10 ft. And the satellite would not consume the entire dimensions of the shroud, analysts point out.

Pentagon managers knew within days of the launch more than a year ago that they were going to face a major space debris incident. But at the time most news outlets took no interest in the Vandenberg NRO launch—allowing the significance of the radar, and now its debris impact, to go unnoticed publicly for more than a year.

The satellite was launched into an initial 351 X 367 km. (218 X 228 mi.) orbit inclined 58.5 deg. Orbital drag has now reduced that to 271 X 282 km. (168 X 175 mi.) with the satellite descending 2,310 ft. per day, according to Molczan.

A National Security Council official says that some of the debris could involve hazardous materials. The satellite is not nuclear-powered so there should be no risk from radioactive materials, although some spacecraft do carry tiny plutonium-powered heaters, but these would not pose a debris hazard.

The greater danger will be from any hydrazine propellant residue that does not fully burn up on reentry.

The spacecraft’s hydrazine tanks are full of maneuvering propellant and past experience with both Columbia and smaller spacecraft indicates that hollow lightweight propellant tanks can survive reentry and reach the ground along with heavier components like momentum wheels.

[edit on 102929p://5617 by anniem]

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